Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, November 19, 1915: “We are all getting a little restless …”

–from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees—

“ 19 November. We are all getting a little restless and wish to be off, but we could never get the boats any great distance over the present surface, although today we moved the whaler mounted on the new sledge which the carpenter has made up from the runners of my poor old motor tractor, and we were surprised at the ease with which we were able to drag it and turn it.

“This sledge is a great success and its solid construction does the carpenter credit, horrid old man that he is. Now he is raising the gunwale of the James Caird some 10 in by the extraordinary expedient of fixing to its existing gunwale the upper part of the gunwale of the now derelict motor boat. He certainly is a brilliant workman.

“Hurley too is continually devising new and useful appliances and is at present occupied in constructing a very presentable bilge pump for the whaler out of the brass case belonging to the binnacle compass and which usually holds the iron steadying [that is, Flinders] bar, by which the compass is steadied in some way, I believe.

“We are very short of the farinaceous element in our diet and constantly have a mild craving for it. Bread is out of the question as we are eking out our supply of flour by making bannocks, of which we have from three to four each a day. They are made from flour, fat, water, salt, and baking powder, the dough being rolled out into flat rounds and baked for about 10 minutes on a hot sheet of iron over the fire.”


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